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Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail

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Banff National Park

Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail is a 6.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 6.8 mi Elevation gain 2,598 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Camping Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Forest Lake River Views Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Scramble Snow
Description
Waypoints (0)

NOTE: The parking lot at Moraine Lake fills up early in the morning. Once it fills up, the park closes the road and makes people utilize the shuttle to reach the lake. To read more about the shuttle, please see https://roamtransit.com/2020/03/important-roam-service-information/

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1019)
Photos (1179)
Recordings (683)
Completed (2636)
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Mark Johnson
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful hike, fall colors were spectacular. We arrived at the parking lot around 9:30 and there was a few parking spots to be had. Weather probably had something to do with it. The hike wasn’t too difficult but it is a steady climb. Will do it again!

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Pamela Désourdie
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HikingFeeGreat!

Belle randonnée! Quand même un peu challengeant! La fin pour monter au sommet est un incontournable et ne demande pas vraiment de technique. Les couleurs de l’automne étaient magnifique. Arrivez tôt au stationnement, sinon vous allez devoir attendre que le stationnement se libère un peu

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Jay Sheen
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Hiking

Amazing hike! The tree colors are unreal. Not too difficult, the switchback sections are a bit of a challenge, but larch valley is a nice walk. Sentinel Pass was a gorgeous view of Larch Valley and Paradise Valley. Started the hike at 3:30 in the aftermoon, the parking lot had lots of empty parking spaces. back down to the car at 7:00. Great time to go to beat the morning and mid-day rush

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Silver Marlfox
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Hiking
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Caroline Potolicchio
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HikingGreat!
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Suman Saha
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Did the hike today 9/23. Reached Moraine lake parking at 5.30 am. Lot is full by 6.30 I think. Started hiking at 8. Busiest trail on a Wednesday we have ever seen. Trail is moderate. Larches start after 2 km, goes on for another 2 km. Larches are at peak right now - this is a must do in Banff. The path to the pass is steep with loose rocks and very narrow at places. Top of the pass is extremely windy. Again this is a must do with breathtaking golden larches all around. The best view of the larch valley and ten peaks is actually before the lake, not from the top of the pass. In my opinion view from the pass summit is little obstructed, however the view is still awesome and you can see paradise valley on the other side of the pass which is kind of cool. This is probably the best hike in banff to see fall color.

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Dallas Janelle
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HikingGreat!
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Garret Cowan
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Hiking

I think we got the last parking spot at 6:45am today but the trail didn’t seem too crazy busy. I think everyone arrived spread out enough. The Larches are amazing!!! The views are epic and was a nice length with enough elevation to feel like a good workout.

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Lauren Ruhl-Epp
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HikingGreat!

The larches were at their peak and this trail is well worth the views. As other reviews say, it’s entirely uphill but never truly steep (very doable without poles). Highly recommend going around this time of year. We got to the parking lot by 6am on a Monday and it was full by around 6:10 - plan to arrive early!

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Tami Doney
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Hiking

Epic hike to Sentinel Pass. Starts with steady incline switchbacks for about 2-2.5km (never hard, just steady), then into the Larch Valley which is unbelievably stunning right now. Words just don’t do it justice, it must be seen! Once you pass Lake Minnestima it is a slog upwards, 1.5km climb to the pass. Good sturdy shoes are a must, poles are handy especially coming down the pass. Can feel a bit gruelling but totally doable. The views at the pass are spectacular over the ridge and down to paradise valley on the other side and then the Larch Valley you just climbed in the other direction. We walked a bit further up towards Mt Temple and the views were amazing, but it was super windy and cold up there, too. Took us just under 4hrs to complete and we started at about 1pm. Walked the lakeshore trail to finish, about 15km total with all of it.

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Erin Marchington
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Hiking

busy but amazing

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Amanda S
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Hiking

Beautiful hike! Felt shorter than 10km and I’d say moderate, not hard. The switchbacks at the beginning and end are the only physically challenging sections. The middle section is nearly flat. It was very windy and bitterly cold at the pass early in the morning. Dress warmly!

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Lidia Couture-Perron
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Hiking

Amazing! Totally worth getting up at 4:30am. The sunrise was incredible!

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Kirsten Baird
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HikingGreat!

We hiked on Sunday, Sep 20, 2020. Couldn’t have picked a better day. The larches were so intense and the weather was perfect. The parking closed at about 6:15am.

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Freddie Naval
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HikingGreat!Rocky

We hiked up on Monday, September 21st, beautiful weather, trail is busier than expected considering it's a weekday. The 2.4km trail is switchbacking steeply through the forest until you get to the junction. From here the Larch Valley Trail branches uphill and enters meadows of Alpine Larch. The trail climbs steadily for 2.1km to Minnestimma Lakes beneath the Sentinel Pass. From here it's another 1.3km of steep switchbacks to Sentinel Pass. The views of the Ten Peaks and Sentinel Pillars are truly magnificent and awesome. The seven hour round trip hike (including multiple selfie stops & nature pics, catching breath and meal stops) and all the efforts to get to the Sentinel Pass are all worth it! Highly recommend this trail!

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Chelsea Gall
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Hiking

Tuesday 22 - Busiest hike I’ve done all summer, but well worth it!!!! Carpark was full at 6:40 - we had to cut loops and didn’t get a park until 8 (luckily)... Be there a lot earlier or try going later in the day once it settles. Highly recommend this hike during fall

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Mirella Hilderman
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HikingRocky

Fantastic trail but SO busy!!!!!!! We hiked this trail on Monday, September 21,2020. We got to the parking lot at 6:40 on a Monday (off season) thinking we lucked out but man, oh man! Probably got the last parking spot. The place was packed with people. The trail is in great condition, gaining elevation very slowly. Not technical but have to be careful going up as the trail close to the pass is very narrow and people walk from both directions. The larches have turned and the landscape is magical!! Next time I’ll go later in the day, probably around 3 PM to (hopefully) avoid the crowds. PS- it was freezing at the top.

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Patti Groenenboom
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We did this hike on Sunday the smoke had cleared and the weather was beautiful! The lurch trees are so bright yellow right now!! Wow!! Just beautiful!!!we weren’t sure if we would’ve made it up the sentinel pass, but we did!!! It was amazing from the top over looking the whole valley on both sides!! It is definitely a hard hike! A ton of switch backs and the first half of the trail is all uphill!! I’m glad I did it though

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Yanix Lacea
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HikingGreat!

We did it with my 2 kids 5 and 4 years old so pretty in the top

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angela grace
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful hike! I was up bright & early (4am) to get to the parking lot before the crowd, but this early bird did not get the worm. The lot was full by 6:25am on a Monday! So....save yourself the parking lot stress & for $10 catch the #10 Roam shuttle from either Banff high school or at Lake Louise (parking lot by the Visitor Centre). You'll have a guaranteed ride & plenty of time for the hike :) The extra switchbacks to the top of Sentinel Pass are totally worth it too.

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Reina K
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Hiking
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Casey Smith
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Hiking

A waited a long time to do this and glad I did. Even on a Monday it’s busy!

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Slava Kostin
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Gorgeous trail

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Ana Perante
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Hiking
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Dave YYC
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Hiking
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Never Lamb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

trail is easy, especially at the start. contrast to what other comments said, there is no need to wake up early in the morning, at least from Monday to Thursday. the bus is only $5 one way, go to visitor center before 10 am to get a bus schedule, you can park in the village plaza parking lot, but avoid the 1 to 2 hours limited parking spots. the bus I took was from 10:17 and return at 3:40, enough time for me to do the sentinel pass and the moraine lake rock pile. I found at least 2 empty parking space at moraine lake around 10am, but they won't allow car in even if there are free spots.

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